Thursday, May 23, 2013

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Stand Up and Fight Back by Ken Abraham

Stand Up and Fight Back: How to Take  Authority Over Satan & Win  by Ken Abraham is the ultimate spiritual warfare book from the charismatic Christian perspective.  The cover and title seemingly looks like an ordinary  self help book. Yet, this book is not just another self help book that you will find on the market. This book is written from the spiritual perspective.  In contrast to other Christian themed self help books, this focuses  on Satan and the reality of spiritual battles. The smaller subtitle, which might be easily overlooked, gives a better indication of the book's spiritual theme. 

Using personal anecdotes and modern culture as a springboard, the author illustrates the presence of evil in the world today.  Yet, evil is not simply an abstract concept or force but rather a specific created evil being- Satan.  The book begins with some incredible accounts of actual demon possession.  These literal accounts of demon possession both in the mission field and in modern society seem to be a bit extreme and almost discredit the book as a whole. The book recounts a few sensational sounding  stories that are all too similar to those found in horror movies.  I am unsure as to why the author included these accounts as they seem almost  counterproductive in establishing credibility for many readers- Christian and secular alike. Nevertheless, moving past these extraordinary accounts, the author makes many valid points concerning the Satan's sphere of influence. 

Ken Abraham uses scripture to explain the presence of evil and the history or biography of Satan.  In fact this book is like a mini course in Satan and the sphere of Satan's influence. I would say this book is like a demonology 101 course.  Heavily based in scripture, I could not find anything theologically inconsistent with this book.  Using old testament references as well as new testament accounts, the author gives the reader a thorough background into Satan's origins beginning with his creation as an angelic being named Lucifer. This eye opening book will alert the reader to the real danger of Satan.  For a secular reader, with a closed mind, I can only imagine this book providing a lot of fuel for the background material for a horror movie.

Even in Churches and among Christians, complacency with the status quo and society is so common.  Yet this is indicative of a spiritual problem. The author explains that each and every believer must be alert and also participate in spiritual warfare.  The age of miracles, according to this author, did not end with the age of the apostles.  According to this book, spiritual gifts still are available for believers in Christ.  Yet  this is where many mainstream Christians may differ in opinion as many believers say the age of miracles and supernatural displays of power ended in the days of the apostles. The author cites compelling evidence that perhaps spiritual gifts still are available.   Yet no Christian will doubt this fact: there are so many things can be attributed to Satan's influence as well as personal sin.  In fact un- confessed sin and temptation can contribute to strongholds that Satan uses to imprison the believer.  The author provides the spiritual tools and empowers the reader to break free.  Unlike the prosperity preaching, this author recognizes the significance of sin in one's life.  This book can be even used an apologetic book to defend one's faith in the bible and specifically spiritual gifts. As a believer in the bible, I feel that the author would have been more effective in presenting his stance on spiritual gifts if the sensational sounding accounts of literal possession were left out of this book entirely.  Yet other than that, I feel this book is an important resource for Christians concerning an often overlooked danger.  As a blogger for Booketeria, I received this book published by Charisma house for the purpose of writing this review.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Christian Mama's Guide to Baby's First Year by Erin Macpherson

The Christian Mama's Guide to Baby's First Year: Everything You Need to Know to Survive (and Love) Your First Year as a Mom by Erin Macpherson, is a good introductory book offering simple and practical advice for new moms.  This book is not a stand alone thorough reference like the Dr. Sears baby reference books, yet it makes an entertaining edition for those moms who can't get enough new mom advice.  What makes this book unique is the inclusion of spiritual advice as well.  While this book is not overly spiritual, the author reaches out and acknowledges those moms who are Christians and who do read the bible.  Basically this hybrid book is a baby parenting book with a few spiritual suggestions and a few applicable bible verses mixed in.

The author Erin Macpherson speaks to the reader based on her own parenting experiences and style. Her writing style is personalized and reassuring to the new mom.  It is clear that she is a parent herself. Yet, at times this book almost seemed to be an marketing outreach of a big box baby goods store, with its many references to the latest baby gadgets. It is apparent she is speaking from the view of a mom who financially affluent.  Yet one issue I found is this book is a little too  materialistic, as the author makes numerous references to products that she feels are neccesities, as well as her reliance on smart phones, video monitors, ipods and other expensive equipment.  For example not all moms can afford a $50 nursing pillow or an expensive video monitor- which are listed in her book as neccesities. The baby carriers mentioned such as the Ergo or Baby Bjorn run close to $100.  Less expensive alternatives aren't even mentioned.  A Wubbanub pacifier is listed as a necessity.  Firstly, for a breastfeeding mom any pacifier introduced in the first 4-6 weeks may cause nipple confusion and may even sabotage nursing efforts.  To suggest that a pacifier is a necessity is just not good advice for all moms. And needless to say a gimmicky pacifier with a stuffed toy attached hardly seems like a necessity. Less expensive and more practical alternatives should have been offered such as a carefully placed pillow serves fine for nursing.  Or, a less expensive $23 carrier works just as well, or it costs less than $10 to make your own Moby wrap with cloth from a craft store- which is a lot less money than a $60 Moby wrap which simply consists of a long piece of jersey knit cloth.   The fact that less expensive or handmade alternatives are not included in this book -almost would make it seem as if the author may be advertising for these expensive items.  At least there are ideas on how to procure some of these items second hand.  But, asking "grandma" to buy obviously speaks to a younger generation of new moms. This seems to contrast greatly with the biblical teaching on materialism, and I feel this will exclude and alienate many new moms who are not as financially well off and cannot afford these items.  If anything, this would help a new mom navigate the newest trendy baby products on the market when preparing a baby shower registry.

To the author's credit some useful advice is offered for breastfeeding and the postpartum period. This is especially helpful for first timers. Once you get past the product suggestions (endorsements) in the book,  and references to social media and popular television, some advice was actually useful in dispelling commonly held myths.  For example, the advice about breastfeeding and persevering is very accurate.  Furthermore, coming from a trendy young mom such as the author will make the advice all the more palatable, especially in regards to a sensitive topic like breastfeeding which can quickly turn controversial. There are also tips on healthy eating and a brief summary of the pros and cons of popular parenting books and methods which are pretty useful for those investigating different parenting books. The information about baby health issues and pediatricians is useful as well. Overall, I feel this new mom's book will be an effective outreach for the typical new, young mom that is into trying the latest baby gear and products.  As far as other less financially affluent and working class moms, I feel such readers will feel alienated. Yet this is not a surprise as the pink polka dot cover depicts a cartoon of a young, fashionable, thin trendy mom holding a bottle. As a blogger for booksneeze I received this book published by Thomas Nelson for the purpose of writing this review. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Chronicles of Dinosauria by Dave Woetzel

Chronicles of Dinosauria: The History & Mystery of Dinosaurs and Man  by Dave Woetzel and illustrated by Richard Dobbs is a newly illustrated volume written from the biblical perspective of creation. This full colored book is filled with colorful graphics, full color illustrations and photographs on each page.  Created and designed to resemble an actual field journal, this book is like an actual experience with dinosaurs.  This book is the creationist answer to the new emerging genre of realistic journal styled books that usually focus on mythical or fictional creatures such as ware wolves, vampires or even middle earth dragons.  This book is designed in the same tradition yet its focus is on dinosaurs.  The mixed media illustrations and elements- line drawings, photographs, the aged worn  appearance of the cover and pages and realistic graphics draw the reader in for a realistic experience.  Visually, this book is impressive and is certain to draw in all readers- young readers and even parents alike!

As far as the content- this book provides a broad picture of the concepts of creation, with its focus on dinosaurs in particular.  Background information of the creation account and the worldwide flood as recorded in the biblical book of Genesis is covered.  The lives of dinosaurs is retold in context of archeological evidence as well as the Genesis account.  Intelligently written, this book serves as a good apologetic resource for anyone who wishes to build up and defend their belief in the creation account.  In terms of scientific coverage, this book would be a goo supplement to a science text.  A number of facts are presents in regards to archeological evidence, and fossils.  The different dinosaurs are depicted with their names as well.  This hybrid book combines science and entertainment as well.  Detailed endnotes provide sources of information. Last but not least in the end of the book is "God's Plan of Salvation" in order to provide the opportunity to hear the gospel message to all readers. This book is the perfect outreach to draw in the science enthusiast and dinosaur buff.  Inj light of all those erroneous memes and photos of creation tests that have gone viral on facebook, this book provides the true source of creation from an objective point of view- first hand.  As a blogger for New Leaf publishers I received a copy of this book published by Master Books and imprint of New Leaf Publishing group. 

This book is available directly from the publisher www.newleafpublishinggroup

or from B&N Chronicles of Dinosauria B&N

Strangers On the High Seas - A Captain No Beard by Carole P Roman

Strangers On the High Seas - A Captain No Beard by Carole P Roman is the newest edition to an emerging  new, vibrantly illustrated children's book based on the popular pirate theme.  Watercolor art perfectly accompanies the nautical pirate action. This story includes Captain No Beard and the other familiar heroes of the original book.  Introduced in this tale is a new character, a diaper wearing baby girl named Cayla. This will appeal to young toddlers as well as older children.   During the story children will learn an important message about stranger safety.  In fact, the characters Hallie and the Captain teach the young reader that "we certainly don't speak to people we don't know. And we never approach animals without permission".  No need for a parent lecture if a parent reads this book to their children.  This book reinforces important lessons- repackaging them in the context of a fictional pirate story. 

This inviting new book series introduces  children to the friendly pirate named Captain No Beard, and his frigate as well as the host of friendly talking animals.   This is the  perfect introduction to pirate literature - like pirate literature 101 complete with the typical pirate talk and pirate cliches.  There is a pirate reference on every page of these books such as the Jolly Roger, crossbones flag, pirate slang and nautical terminology . The consistency of this series will appeal to young children.  The surprise ending will capture the readers attention and encourage their imaginations. This book encourages role playing- where one's bedroom can become a new world, and blankets can become an ocean.   Parents and children alike will be entertained by the  final ending with the funny dual meaning-  as Alexander tells his mom to "report to the poop deck", when it is time to change Cayla's diaper who responds that "I was only doing my duty".  As a blogger I received this book from the author for the purpose of writing this review. This book is available for purchase on Amazon.

If You Were Me and Lived In France.... A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around The World By Carole P. Roman

If You Were Me and Lived In France.... A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around The World By Carole P. Roman is a new picture book introducing young readers to a new country. This book is another edition in a series of picture books focusing on a particular country.  It would also be a good book to read to children before a family vacation to France, or for a family that is interested in their French ancestry. This book would appropriate for grade school children as part of a geography or social studies lesson.

This book follows a similar format as the first book in the series about Mexico. This consistency makes this series perfect for the school setting.  The predictability of the book's format will appeal to younger readers.  In this addition to the series, the  reader will learn about the geographical location of France and will be  introduced to historic buildings, coinage, tourist attractions, local foods, national holidays, sports and other social norms. Full color, simply drawn cartoon drawings compliment the text. The drawing of the markets for example, features flowers and local pastry.  It reinforces the stereotypical ideas of France in the context of their actual settings. Apparently a special hallmark of this series is the inclusion of a unique and unexpected pattern which is integrated into the bedroom scene. In this case, the blanket features an authentic French flower pattern.  It would be nice to see this pattern mix throughout the book.  The last page includes pronunciations of some of the words used in the book.  As a blogger I received this book for the purpose of writing this review.